by Nolan Kuzmick, Ourlads’ Draft Analyst
Note: Players on this list are included based on their perceived talent versus where they will be drafted. A higher level of confidence is put on these players for either performing to the level of their draft position or outperforming their draft position. There are multiple aspects of these players game that make them unique and sets them aside from the pack.
Free Agent Targets
Travis Carrie–CB, Ohio, rSr:
Solid size, speed and athleticism. Does a nice job of turning and running with the receiver and playing physical throughout the routes. Shows a fast jump on the ball, can beat receivers back to it and shows good hands to intercept the ball. Bump and run style frustrates receivers. Has experience returning punts and runs smooth with the ball in his hands, naturally flows to lanes. Likes contact, is a physical tackler that is always in the mix. Has been beat on the deep ball and could improve not letting receivers get behind him.
Conor Boffeli-OG, Iowa, rSr:
Keeps his balance with a firm base, holds the pocket well with lateral movement, punch and retreat, shadow blocking and good strength. Latches onto defenders at the second level, often sticking to them on impact. Uses his forearm well and works down the line fast staying with defenders and maintaining contact. Shows nice drive and consistency with his effort and push. When defenders attempt to use a rip move or get around the side of him, he uses his leverage and pushes them down the line to the ground, always taking defenders to the ground for pancakes. Needs to improve his footwork, have seen him cross his feet working down the line. Also, at times he doesn’t take proper angles for open-field blocks and comes away without finding a body.
Blake Treadwell-OG, Michigan State, rSr:
A knockdown machine that knows the fundamentals of leverage and enjoys being the attacker, converted from DL in 2011 and played some center and mostly guard. Smash mouth blocker, opens up holes, works with his forearms on defenders and his low position. Hips are very flexible with the lowest starting stance across the line. Has shown the ability to shuffle and protect for passing plays, but that is his main area of improvement still. He has some technique things to work on including balance, at times he gets his weight too far forward and defenders use this to throw him to his knees. Has picked up blitzes well with a firm stick to the chest and works off on double teams exceptionally. If he is going to be used for pulling he needs to improve there too, he often misses the first point of danger and doesn’t kickout properly, has a habit of slowly hoping up before working down the line. Shows flashes, knockdown on Louis Nix portrayed top notch technique. Has solid strength and his run blocking and knockdowns make him a project guy worth considering.
Trashaun Nixon- New Mexico State, OLB, Sr:
Versatile prospect that has experience playing Sam and Will. Switched to Will midway through the season and fit better off the line in the open space. An athletic prospect that has the instinct of a linebacker and the athleticism of a safety. Drops into coverage, hips turn well, has the speed to run with his man and the vertical to get up and bring the ball down or knock it out of the air. In zone, closes fast on the catch and makes a sure tackle. When the QB handles the ball too long or tries to run he closes fast to disrupt the play. Makes wrap up tackles, and has the strength to make big hits. Has direct pursuit angles and eludes blockers. Could improve his ability using hands to keep separation from blockers and get off blocks. Looks like a solid special teams player that has a fit as a weak side 4-3 OLB, his ability in the passing game separates him from others.
Winston Wright- CB, South Dakota State, Sr:
This guy flies around the field making plays. Looks like a solid special teamer. Great job of making open field tackles while maintaining a high speed, first one down the field on kickoffs making the low hit without much time to break down. Breaks up passes by diving in front of balls and smacking them down. Has a high end speed, won’t give up on plays, chases players down from behind to save TDs, good pursuit angles. Lower level of competition, but one of my favorite sleepers at defensive back.
Demetri Goodson-CB, Baylor, rSr:
Transitions well from back pedal to turning and running with receivers. Good straight line speed. Breaks well on the ball and lays a nice pop coming back on the ball. Doesn’t get very involved in the running game often. Needs to work on his form tackling as he puts his head down and dives losing vision and missing tackles. Gets his hand between the receivers hands to prevent the completion. Positions himself and gets his hands on the ball, could improve his catching to turn those opportunities into turnovers. Has shown his vertical ability to go up and come down with the ball. Technique things to work on, but an impressive baseline ability to work with.
BJ Lowery –CB, Iowa, Sr:
Quick feet and turn and run, sticks with wideouts and is physical throughout the route. Gets on the ball and reaches around to physically knock the ball down. Likes contact, is involved in the running game and lines up all over the field. Doesn’t have the quickest break on the come backs, but has a lot of talent and can contribute on special teams with the instinct, hitting ability and speed. Needs to turn and find the ball. Good size, hits and fills like a linebacker. Constantly batting the ball down with one hand pressing the receiver. All over receivers, but plays without many penalties. Nice job timing his jump on the long ball and can get up and make the one handed pick. Solid man coverage, blankets WRs. Gets on his heels and cannot come out of his breaks back to the ball soon enough, killed him a few times against ISU where Quenton Bundrage was able to cut back make the play and get past him for the TD. Improve his balance and not get on his heels, explode
out of breaks and he’ll be a force.
Eddie Lackey- Baylor, OLB, Sr:
Highly energetic player that flies around the field making plays, always around the ball. Doesn’t have the size you look for in this position, but makes up for that with his awareness and hustle. His feet never stop moving, often keeping his feet jumping until he makes his read and pursues the play. He recognizes the play quickly and attacks the line to stop the run. His size has limited his ability to get off blocks effectively, but most of the time he reads the play fast enough and hustles to get to the play before linemen tangle him up. He is a hitter that plays like he enjoys contact, running past his own players to make the tackle. Shows a nice drop, reads the QB well in zone, constantly positioning to maintain assignment. Plays sneaky in the zone and QBs have overlooked him allowing him to pull up and make the pick. Will be a very special special-teamer and can provide OLB depth, possibly safety consideration.
Roy Philon –Louisville, DT, Sr
Big bodied run-stuffer with quick release and fast, powerful hands. Does a nice job of getting off blocks quickly. Quick release and a powerful initial punch, keeping separation from blockers. Quick hands, often using a rip move or using his strength to throw defenders aside. Keeps his hips low and uses leverage on offensive linemen. Impressive speed in close quarters and can move well laterally to work down the line and make the play. Knifes through often and disrupts the play behind the line. High level of awareness, recognizing blockers letting him through for screens and using his physicality to make the play.
Donte Rumph-Kentucky, DT, Sr
Great strength and has a good burst to get to the ball once he gets off blocks. Nice flow to the ball, ability to use brute strength to push blockers away and work towards the play. Will need to improve handwork when playing against tougher offensive linemen. Nice job keeping separation, then dives off the block to make the play. Needs to work on playing lower with leverage, doesn’t have good bend in his stance and plays too high out of the snap. Good lateral movement, has the ability to change direction for a big guy. Keeps lower out of a 4 point stance, holds his ground and clogs the middle on playside. Works well down the line positioning for the cutback.
Colby Way- Buffalo,DE/DT, Sr:
Keeps separation from blockers with his long arms. Maintains position as runners approach the line and is able to throw blockers aside or break away to either side to make the play. Has a quick swim move to get past linemen and pressure the quarterback. Shows good pursuit and can use his long body to dive and catch runners from behind. Works down the line well to make the play from the offside. Would like to see him add some strength, bulk his frame up, and work on his technique and footwork.
Eric Thomas–WR,Troy, Sr:
A bigger receiver that has shown good route running and hands. Plays with a natural flow for the game and when making the catching and moving around the field with possession. He is a big play type guy that was used often, getting the ball in his hands is ideal. He’s capable of going up and getting the ball and making plays on the sideline. Has a knack for getting open when plays fall apart.
Austin Franklin-WR, New Mexico State, rJr:
A small school go-to guy that has high end speed and nice release. Used as the kick return man, lined up in wild cat for direct snaps and pitch man to get the ball in his hands. Runs smooth and makes big plays. Used in all sorts of ways, coaches wanted to find ways to get the ball in his hands. Will be interesting to see how he performs at a higher level.
Vintavious Cooper–RB, East Carolina, Sr:
Elusive 3rd down back that is best on draws and screens. Can slip through small holes and sneak past defenders, dangerous when he can get in the open field and make big plays. Has nice hands and can run through arm tackles. Explosive in his cuts, runs very sharp and crisp. Isn’t a big powerful runner, but at 200 pounds he isn’t the easiest to bring down, runs hard for a player with his size and speed. Has a playing style similar to Darren Sproles or Jaquizz Rodgers.
Courtney Bridget Jr-CB, Hampton, rSr:
Lanky corner that has good mobility and cuts for a tall player. Has good hip movement and foot placement to stick with receivers and keep himself in position. Shows a solid jump on routes and has good arm length to swat the ball away. Lacks ideal physicality, strength and tackling form/power. Will need to work hard in the weight room to add strength, improving his explosion and drive when tackling, as he often catches the ball carrier instead of exploding through them. This would improve his ability to be physical jamming receivers and throughout their routes.